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Articles by Ben Eltham

Massive arts grant highlights the rift between the haves, have-nots

Arts industry figures have been gobsmacked at just how much money is being distributed to a commercial gallery.

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Sydney Uni and the corporatisation of education

The University of Sydney has reduced the number of positions on its governing board. Is this a worrying trend of less democracy in education?

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The curious case of the missing $8 million: OzCo and Arts at loggerheads

The top bureaucrat in the Arts Ministry and the boss of the Australia Council are at odds over Mitch Fifields’s Catalyst program. Who’s right?

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Heart of the Maddah: why Soundwave music festival collapsed

Numerous bad investment decisions ran Soundwave into the ground.

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Christmas stockings very empty for the arts, with $52m more cut

Arts copped a beating under Abbott, and Turnbull has continued that recent tradition.

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Fifield’s changes to Brandis’ ‘Excellence’ fund gilding a turd, says Senate

The Senate’s report into the Coalition’s arts funding changes is scathing about George Brandis and Mitch Fifield.

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‘A bloodbath’: excellence is out, innovation is in, arts are still screwed

Hated George Brandis’ National Program for Excellence in the Arts? Mitch Fifield’s “Catalyst” program is not much better …

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Will bringing on an OzCo opponent bite Macdonald on the arts?

Crikey can reveal conservative Senator Ian Macdonald asked an Australia Council critic (and former Family First candidate) to address the Senate arts inquiry.

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Same chaos, different minister for arts sector

New Arts Minister Mitch Fifield wasn’t giving much away at Senate estimates this week.

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Key architect of the Excellence Program to advise Turnbull on arts

The news that Michael Napthali will become the Prime Minister’s arts adviser has dismayed many in the cultural sector.

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It ain’t over til … well, now, maybe, for opera companies

The latest report on our opera companies shows a tragedy of Wagnerian proportions.

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‘A victory for the arts’: artists giddy with Brandis’ removal

George Brandis did not make many friends in the sector during his time as arts minister, with most in the industry hoping Mitch Fifield will be more sympathetic to their needs.

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Brandis is wrong: small arts orgs deliver much greater bang for govt buck

New data released by the Australia Council reveals that large performing arts companies are highly inefficient, writes Ben Eltham.

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‘We were blindsided’: books industry demands to know next plot twist

A group of literature organisations has written an open letter to Arts Minister George Brandis, claiming they have been shut out of consultations for an books industry council announced last year.

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What the heck is ‘excellence’? Arts community tries govt in absentia

The opening hearing of a Senate Inquiry into the Arts portfolio discovered an industry bitterly opposed to George Brandis’ Excellence Program.

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Senate submission reveals full impact of Brandis’ raid on OzCo

The Australia Council’s submission to a Senate Inquiry reveals the scale of duning changes imposed by George Brandis’ Excellence program.

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Exclusive: Brandis ‘completely flummoxed’ by his own OzCo changes

Struggling Arts Minister George Brandis has revealed he doesn’t actually understand the changes he’s made to the Australia Council. Additional reporting by Crikey intern Joely Mitchell.

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Brandis to be able to fund arts companies in secret

Who will get funding from the new Programme for Excellence? Only George Brandis knows.

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Brandis adviser reveals secret ‘tantalising details’ of new arts slush fund

A private discussion with a key adviser to George Brandis has confirmed the Arts Minister’s real reasons for shifting funding away from the Australia Council.

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Billions at stake as Brandis smashes the arts sector

Crikey has obtained a list of the 145 arts organisations that will be affected by George Brandis’ funding cuts. Whole sectors are in trouble, with possibly billions of dollars and hundreds of jobs at stake.

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The 145 arts companies gutted by Brandis’ swingeing cuts

These are the arts companies that will lose out as a result of Brandis’ Arts Council cuts.

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Major arts companies throw little guys under the bus after Brandis’ shake-up

In the wake of Arts Minister George Brandis’ audacious shake-up of arts funding, the cultural sector is on the brink of civil war.

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Funny business: what makes the Comedy Festival so popular?

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is, by some measures, the largest cultural festival in the country. When did comedy became such big business?

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Is money for Australian art in Venice a little rich?

Australia is getting a new pavilion at the Venice Biennale, largely funded by private donors. But very few of us will ever see it. The rich are spending more on art, but do we really benefit?

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Post-Crean, arts shake-up begins — with winners and losers

Simon Crean is gone, but the Gillard government is pressing on with its Australia Council reforms. It might face opposition to the decision to scrap artform-specific representation.

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